What is Childhood Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic skin disease which may affect up to 30%-40% of children. Here at Pariser Dermatology, we see a lot of cases of childhood eczema. Parents ask me regularly how to treat childhood eczema. My son (Jay who is 3) has mild atopic dermatitis and also a food allergy (urticaria, known as “hives” resulting from allergens such as tree nuts, specifically walnuts and pecans). This mama was puzzled because while I was pregnant and breastfeeding my son, I snacked on walnuts and pecans daily! I even had labeled containers for walnuts and pecans in my pantry because I ate them so often. I couldn’t believe Jay developed an allergy confirmed by skin-prick allergy testing.
How Allergies and Childhood Eczema are Related
Recent research shows that preventative application of emollients such as Vaseline® or Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy® daily to babies from birth may prevent the development of atopic dermatitis and the atopic march of related allergic disorders (food allergy, asthma, and seasonal allergies/ allergic rhinitis). Your skin is your largest organ and is part of your immune system. Allergens in your environment may be first presented to babies through their skin, especially if their skin barrier is not healthy because of eczema (epicutaneous sensitization). Your skin is your first line of defense!
My theory is that Jay became sensitive to tree nuts through his skin. Since having this experience with my son, I have moisturized my daughter since birth daily with Vaseline® or ceramide containing moisturizer (like CeraVe® Baby or Aveeno Eczema Therapy®) and I’ve seen no eczema or food allergies yet for Kate who just turned 18 months!
As part of Jay’s eczema regimen and for all of my eczema patients, I recommend the following:
- Quick daily bath or shower (limit 5 minutes)
- Use lukewarm water
- Moisturize daily with a ceramide containing moisturizer & apply immediately after bathing to damp skin
I hope my experience with childhood eczema and the ways I’ve learned to treat it are also helpful for you. As with any condition affecting your skin, hair or nails, if you are concerned and need some help, give us a call at 757-622-6315 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.